Sitting in the cockpit of the spaceship, Cyclops starts writing a letter to his old teammates but he doesn’t know who to really write it to. Instead, he crosses out their names and writes a letter to himself.
His space trip of the galaxy with his not-so-dead dad started well enough and they saw some amazing sights and visited amazing worlds. He has personally seen more aliens that in all the Star Wars films combined and the cool stuff has been very cool. But, things have gotten a little more interesting since they left Yrzt. That reason is because of his not-so-dead dad Corsair, leader of the Starjammers, the most wanted pirate in the known galaxy. Everywhere they go, there is someone waiting for them, looking to take his father alive for the bounty. The sightseeing part of the journey is kind of over and now it’s mostly running, sneaking and fighting. This, admittedly, can be fun if you aren’t worried what will happen if they actually catch you. There is one more thing too… He thinks his dad is addicted to drugs.
During their journey after Yrzt, Corsair and Scott have been attacked on numerous worlds by various alien bounty hunters. On one such world, the two had to disguise themselves as they walked through some of the darker areas of the cities. Cyclops caught Corsair making a mysterious transaction with a seedy-looking alien, but didn’t saying anything.
As Scott sits in the cockpit, writing his letter, the ship suddenly lurches to the side and all the alarms go off. The computer issues a warning and says that there are multiple system faults and hull breaches have been detected. Corsair comes running in shirtless and asks Scott if he touched anything. He says he didn’t touch anything as the computer says the reserve power has been engaged. The ship leans to one side, with flames and debris trailing behind it. Sitting down at a console, Corsair says it is bad but not catastrophic yet. Scott, on the other console, jokingly says he is glad because he was getting worried. His father tells him that it’s the Badoon ships and the second they are out of warranty…
Almost as if finishing his sentence, one of the consoles explodes, causing the two to shield their faces from the flames and metal.
Grabbing hold of the steering stick, Corsair tells Scott to get on the short-range and find them a place to land. When Scott asks what he means by “land,” his father replies it sounded better than crash. As the reserve power hits fifty-four percent, Corsair tells his son to relax, as he has crashed lots of times. Scott says he has found something with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and a temperature that is on the high-end of the tolerable range. With more flames coming off the ship, Corsair tells him to strap himself in, as it is going to get bumpy.
The ship plunges into the atmosphere of a nearby planet and streaks across the sky. Scott looks behind him to see a large hole has been ripped open in the back of the ship and everything is being sucked out of it. As the ship gets closer to the ground, it clips a spire of rock, sending fragments of rocks, as well as metal, across the landscape. The ship hits a body of water and skips along the surface like a stone until it slams into a beach and skids to a halt. Numerous strange, flying creatures are scared from their nests in the nearby blue trees and up into the sky.
Inside the cockpit, Scott and Corsair sit, slumped over in their seats. Slowly undoing his seatbelt, Corsair tells Scott he has to admit, his old man is one hell of a pilot. Scott gets up and goes to help his dad, telling him that he crashes with the best of them. Corsair asks if anyone else told him he was a smartass, to which Scott replies only his father has but no-one ever listens to him. As they climb out of the wreckage and look around, Corsair says it may not be a garden spot but he has seen worse. Scott says he isn’t reassured, in fact he is scared. His father turns to him and says that he would be an idiot not to be. They begin to inspect the wreckage and Scott asks how bad it is. Corsair tells him it will never fly again and they are stuck there till they are rescued.
Amongst the many pieces of metal strewn around Scott finds a strange black device that is slightly damaged. He shows it his dad and tells him he doesn’t think it was part of the ship, to which the man agrees and tells him it’s a quantum tracker. He holds it up and guesses the bounty hunter must have stuck it on them back on Yrzt, which would explain why they haven’t had a moment’s piece since leaving there. Scott tells him he doesn’t want to rely on bounty hunters to rescue them and Corsair agrees. If they are getting out of it, they are doing it themselves, so they are going to need to salvage everything from the ship that they can because they will be there a while.
They unload various crates off the smashed ship and cut down some nearby trees to build a shelter. Later that night, around a small campfire, Corsair is watching Cyclops sleep. He silently opens a bag and takes out a small box that contains eight vials of serum. Scott suddenly speaks and asks if he is seriously going to get high now. Corsair asks what he means and Scott, sitting upright on his makeshift bed, tells him that’s what he is doing... taking drugs. Corsair tells him they are medicine but his son says not to play mind games with him. He hates it when people don’t deal straight and he hates it more when it comes from someone he respects. Corsair tells him he isn’t a junkie and asks why he even thinks that. Scott gets angry and tells him he’s seen him making his deals and trying to hide what he is doing. Corsair says he is right that he has been trying to hide it but not for the reasons he thinks, and it isn’t what he thinks either.
Corsair looks forlorn and says that he died, or at least close enough so there isn’t a difference. The serum is what’s keeping him alive. Scott tells him you don’t buy your medicines on a street corner, you go to a pharmacy or doctor. Corsair replies you do if the medicine is illegal and you are injecting yourself with a nano-serum that forms a collective intelligence. It’s a bunch of invisible thinking machines that are using him as their vector. Every galactic government has their own take on piracy and, as long as you are not going after them, they are okay with it. But they all agree on the threat that uncontrolled A.I.s pose and they ones they can’t track, that hide inside a host, they scare them back to the stone ages.
Scott says that he understands but it still doesn’t explain why he hid it from him. Looking away from Scott, Corsair says that it’s not because he died, it’s how he died. He looks at his son and tells him he was killed by his brother. Not Alex, but a brother Scott didn’t know about and he didn’t know about either. He continues and says that Kathryn was murdered by Emperor D’Ken whilst carrying Scott’s brother. Their brother, Gabriel, survived and took the name Vulcan. He was one of the most powerful beings the galaxy ever encountered and he was fueled by rage and madness. He took the lives of countless sentient beings but in the end he died as he lived, in a war soaked in blood.
Hepzibah, Sikorsky, Ch’od, Raza… the whole crew didn’t like him dead. But Hepzibah, she once told him she had lost too much she loved to lose him too. She wouldn’t take death as the final answer and convinced the others not to accept it either. Corsair says he doesn’t know what it cost her but he suspects too much. They took his body to the Shrouded and the mysterious beings attempted to put him back together again. It’s not that easy though, as you don’t just get to thumb your nose at death. Injecting himself with the serum, Corsair he has to take it to feed the little machines in his body, continuing what the Shrouded began.
Scott asks how many doses he has left and Corsair replies he has eight. If he can push it, he can go down to one injection every three days using Earth standard to mean a day. Scott does the math and says he has twenty-four days but Corsair corrects him and says it’s closer to twenty-seven but they are splitting hairs. Scott tells him it’s good to be precise about these sorts of things and his father agrees.
They sit in silence for a few minutes, contemplating what was just said. Eventually, Scott speaks and wonders if he can ask his father something. Corsair tells him he can ask anything, and so Scott looks him straight in the eye and asks why he never came back for him and Alex. Corsair explains that their mother was murdered in front of him and he was turned into a slave and broken. When he finally won his freedom, he wanted revenge and he wanted to hurt the Shi’ar for what they had done to his wife and family. That kind of anger is the same as what destroyed Gabriel and turned him into Vulcan. That kind of anger is toxic and it shamed him and he couldn’t go back to him and Alex like that. It was easier to tell himself that they were happier and had moved on, that they didn’t need him.
Scott stares at him in silence, and then gets up. He angrily tells him that he was their dad and of course they needed him. From everything he has seen of the other him, he needed him a lot. Scott walks away down the beach and stands on the shoreline. Corsair comes up to him and tells him he is right and he’s sorry. Scott says that being right doesn’t actually make him feel any better and everything is unfair. He tells his father not to say that life is unfair, to which Corsair replies that it would just be stating the obvious.
Scott kneels down and starts sifting through stones on the beach. He says that he doesn’t need to hear it because his father only has a month to live and they are stranded on a planet a million light years from home. He doesn’t need it when finally gets a father and he turns out to be a dead man walking. Scott selects a round stone and throws it, skipping it across the water.
They both stare out across the water and Corsair commends him on his throw. He puts his arms around Scott and tells him twenty-seven days is not enough time but at least he gets to spend it with his son.